Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering 9/11

10 years ago our world as we knew it changed forever.  The Mighty Twin Towers fell as a result of a terrorist attack in New York City.  The questions has been pouring in as to "Where were you 10 years ago" and I just couldn't summarize it in 140 characters or less.
I was in Washington D.C. at The Mayflower Hotel on Constitution Avenue.  I had been touring with then new artist Alicia Keys, we were opening up for Maxwell but excited because she was getting ready to begin her own headliner tour.  I was in bed when at 8 something in the morning I opened my eyes to view the Television Program that showed the first tower burning at the top.  It didn't register at first.  I thought it was a movie that I had never seen.  Then I realized that what I was watching was CNN and that this was LIVE-I awakened my roommate and we began to reason how they could put the fire out and maybe things would be ok- until we noticed people hanging out of the window and then jumping to their deaths. Then we noticed a plane flying behind the towers rather close and wondered out loud why that plane was so close and then the plane made a complete U turn into the middle of the 2nd Tower.  Both of us Screamed in Horror.  We watched intently for the next minutes as both towers came crumbling down.  Immediately we were trying to call home but no calls were going through at all.  As we began to call around to our other tour mates, our Road Manager called a meeting.  Apparently, we, The United States was under Attack, and The Pentagon had been hit as well, and another plane crashed close to Pittsburgh.  The Pentagon was 5 minutes from our hotel and they were evacuating it and bring everyone from there to where we were and we were on lockdown for the next 8 hours.  No one except Secret Service could come in or go out.  We were all terrified.  For ourselves because we were in Washington with the government so I felt like we were sitting targets, and terrified for Alicia because we had 3 days off and she was in New York.  We stayed at the Mayflower Hotel for the next 2 days, our shows in D.C. were cancelled and all I knew then was that I did not want to be in the middle of a war, or caught up in a bomb situation that I couldn't get out of, or on an airplane.  From that moment on every Arab was suspect, and every Muslim was a potential threat, and that was sad too considering that my Dad is Muslim and I knew he would never support terrorism-however is he a fan of the Government? Absolutely not.
We finished the US tour and began the first leg of Alicia's World Tour.  Just 3 weeks after 9/11 we were on a plane flying all over , first the US, then Europe, every other day.  I was so afraid.  Every time we boarded a plane I'd get in my Window Seat, hide my face, and cry.  I did this every single time until I was on my way from San Francisco to L.A., to then catch a plane from L.A. to Germany.
A man interrupted my moment and said "Excuse Me, is anyone sitting here?" - I was so mad at him because no one was there- the plane was about to take off and I just thought it was a stupid question- didn't he see Mee looking like I didn't want to be bothered? couldn't he tell?? and why did he have to sit next to Mee, weren't there any other seats on that almost empty flight??? And I wished he would wipe that smile off his face!!!!  So I kind of waved him off like "You can sit there but don't talk to Mee, Im over here praying that we don't crash n burn".  I could not in this moment stop crying, so after about 5 minutes, the man says "Excuse Me, if you don't mind Me asking, What's Wrong?"  I said, "Sir, I really don't feel like talking, I am so scared that we are going to crash or something is going to happen- I am tired of flying, we've been on planes since 9/11 and we are just getting started and I can't take it anymore, I just want off this plane".  So he said "well, this plane is not going to crash and I know it's not"- I said "Why?" he said "Because I'm on it, and that's is not my destiny to perish in a plane crash" Then he asked Mee my name and we began to talk.  This man was a Pastor from a church in Compton California and he was flying home so he could be in church that Sunday. I told him I was a PK and I should have a better level of faith but  I didn't.  So he pulls out his Bible and asks Mee to read the passage of scripture he was pointing to- Psalms 91- I began to silently read but he told Mee to read it out loud- As I read the first verse I became overwhelmed with emotion- He That Dwelleth in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide under the Shadow of the Almighty.  He told Mee that if I rest in the Word of God he will take my fears away.  He told Mee that every time I get on the plane to read this passage of scripture and he promised Mee that I will begin to feel better if I believe.  From that day on, I read this scripture every time I get on a plane and before we leave the ground I am sound asleep.  I wish I would have gotten that Pastor's number because I would have loved to visit his church to testify as to how he helped Mee.
Everywhere we went in Europe, everyone was very concerned for Americans.  We saw American Flags in Madrid, we saw American Flags in Italy, and France too.  10 years ago, it seemed as though the worse thing that had happened to the United States, had United The World.
10 Years Later we have Homeland Security, we have more intense Security with Flying, and we have a new World Trade Center being erected that will be known as The Freedom Tower.  This building is said to be the Tallest SkyScraper in America.
I will never forget the World Trade Centers- I will never forget seeing them burn on TV and I will never forget seeing those people jump to their deaths.  I will also never forget how the New York Skyline was forever changed that day and I will never forget the significance of the numbers 9-1-1.
I will always remember the victims and I will always pray for their families and the children they left behind.

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